Thursday, March 25, 2010

farewell, bommyknockers

To celebrate our first walk home from school this spring, Olivia wanted to find a memento from our 3- block journey to put on display in our house. She frequently celebrates the changes of the seasons by bringing the outside in. It's nice. Soon we'll harvest daffodils and lilac, come winter we'll have pine cones, but just now, as we wait for spring buds to bloom, our pickings are slim.

Her first choice this time was a bommyknocker, the spikey ball that falls from a sweet gum tree. They are also called gumballs or conkleberries, but bommyknockers are clearly the best choice of name, don't you think? She actually chose four of these-- one for each member of the family. I wasn't appropriately thrilled about decorating the house with spikey gumballs, but it turns out I didn't need to worry.

As we crossed a busy street, all four bommyknockers fell out of her hands. We watched from the safety of the sidewalk as they were conklecrushed by a U-haul truck. Judging by Olivia's reaction, you would have thought she'd just witnessed the death of a beloved pet. Her mourning period lasted the entire walk home until she discovered this fragil floral bundle of translucent petals skipping in the wind just as we turned into our alley. I don't even know what it's called (anyone?), but it was a godsend. Olivia set her mind that it was a bommyknocker all grown up. I suggested otherwise but didn't push it too much.

It looks completely dried to me, somehow perfectly preserved despite the elements, but Olivia wanted it to have water. She also wanted her pet caterpillar (thank you Mendy and the Franklin Conservatory) to be able to enjoy it before he/she disappeared into his/her chrysalis. The chrysalis is now hanging in a box. In a short time it will become a painted lady butterfly. And hopefully by then, there will be more colors, textures, and scents outside to select for home decor. In the meantime, I think this is quite lovely.


Jaime said...

isn't it a dried hydrangea? what a neatly preserved bloom! so far, i've only gotten dried sticks from the bushes behind our house. :D

AmyRDot said...

Looks like a hydrangea to me.

Rebecca Martin said...

Wonderful moment with Olivia.

And I never knew gumballs could also be called bommyknockers, but it is *clearly* the best choice of name.

The Walkers said...

How sweet. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth!

amy said...

definitely a hydrangea. we have bushes (which are bare) and also this tree (?) which still has the dried blossoms on it. probably came from that.

and who knew about bommyknockers. we just call them gumballs...aka, the bane of our existence. we just cut down the bommyknocker tree in our front yard and couldn't be happier to see it gone!

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

I thought it was probably a hydrangea. I was just having a hard time figuring how a hydrangea, so in tact would come to be there after our long snowy winter. Friend Vanessa suggested someone preserved it last year and then threw it out while spring cleaning. However it came to be, I'm glad it found us.

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

Mystery solved! My neighbor Heather from two doors down has an entire bush of these dried hydrangeas on the side of her house. I cannot believe they preserved so nicely even after our harsh winter. Fortunately one chose to break lose and come visit my girl.